Capel Bethlehem in the village of Bryncrug near Tywyn is a Primative Methodist chapel, built in 1883, replacing an earlier building dating from 1800. The chapel is built in the sub-classical style with a gable ended roof, and modified in 1908. It is significant for being the location of the grave of Mary Jones (1784-1864), who, as a young girl, walked 26 miles to buy a Bible.
The grave of Mary Jones
Mary Jones was from a poor family, the daughter of a weaver, who lived at Llanfihangel-y-Pennant, Abergynolwyn, at the foot of Cader Idris near Dolgellau. She was born in December 1784. Her parents were devout Calvinistic Methodists, and she herself professed the Christian faith at eight years of age. Having learned to read in the circulating schools organised by Thomas Charles, it became her burning desire to possess a Bible of her own. The nearest copy was at a farm two miles distant from her little cottage, and there was no copy on sale nearer than Bala – 26 miles (42 km) away; and it was not certain that a copy could be obtained there. Welsh Bibles were scarce in those days. Having saved for six years until she had enough money to pay for a copy, she started one morning in 1800 for Bala, and walked the 26 miles over mountainous terrain, barefoot as usual, to obtain a copy from Rev. Thomas Charles, the only individual with Bibles for sale in the area. According to one version of the story, Mr. Charles told her that all of the copies which he had received were sold or already spoken for. Mary was so distraught that Charles spared her one of the copies which was already promised to another. In another version, she had to wait two days for a supply of Bibles to arrive, and was able to purchase a copy for herself and two other copies for members of her family. According to tradition, it was the impression that this visit by Mary Jones left upon him that impelled Charles to propose to the Council of the Religious Tract Society the formation of a Society to supply Wales with Bibles.
The stated coordinates for this cache take you to the grave of Mary Jones. The gate into the churchyard is east of the church - walk up the road from the parking area and the gate is on your right. Mary Jones' grave is a short distance in (see photo).
To the left of Mary's grave (as you face the chapel) is another grave with an inscription beginning "Er gof am Margaret" - like most of the headstones in this graveyard it is written in Welsh, though a knowledge of the language is not needed for this cache! The penultimate line of the inscription has a date and age: Ionawr [January] A 1BCD yn EF.
The cache is located at N52° 36.(E-F)(A+E)(D/F)' W004° 03.(C-D)(B)(A+B-E)'
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